Best Practices

What Causes Construction Project Delays?

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It’s both frustrating and costly for contractors when a construction project is postponed. However, delays can happen for various reasons such weather, equipment failureslabor shortages, missing or incorrect data, project mistakes and conflicts. There are some reasons, like weather that are beyond your control, but most construction project delays can be avoided.

Working with cloud-based, integrated construction software can keep everyone on the same page by providing equipment, materials and worker status visibility, project progress and productivity and timeline transparency —  all in real time. This helps contractors complete their construction deliverables on time and within budget.

Below is a look at the six most common reasons construction jobs are delayed and tips on how to avoid them.

1. Budget Inaccuracies

As a contractor, misquoting a job estimate can be massively detrimental; some jobs are shut down for weeks, months or even dropped altogether. Accurate estimating ensures there is always enough money for materials, wages, and more. Using estimating software simplifies bids, estimates, and financial project planning and makes the process somewhat foolproof. Moreover, once estimates are complete, contractors need an easy way to get the project in their construction management platform and get to work.

Once the job is underway, having real-time access to data is critical to see how job progress is matching up with job costs. Unfortunately, many contractors are still relying on non-integrated, on-premise software solutions, which often means data reporting is delayed between the field and office, and those tasked with analyzing project productivity are often working from information that is days, weeks, even months old. A cloud-based, integrated construction management solution solves this by automating workflows and delivering powerful data and analysis tools in real time.

2. Labor Challenges

The biggest challenge in the construction industry today is labor. The recession triggered more than a decade ago left its mark on the industry, as many skilled workers laid off during the downturn left to take jobs in other industries. Few have returned, and the younger generations of workers entering the workforce have been less and less inclined to commit to construction careers. Technology is helping to change that dynamic, while also streamlining the HR and labor management workflows across construction organizations.

Correctly allocating a work crew can make or break a construction timeline. Rushing from project to project is inefficient, and risks cutting corners. Technology is making this is an easy fix, by streamlining scheduling and time collection for labor in the field and helping project managers determine what crews are best suited for what projects.

3. Approvals

Everyone at some point in their career has played the dreaded waiting game. Waiting for someone, somewhere to make a decision that is keeping the entire project from moving forward. As a leader or project manager on the job, you have to make decisions that keep projects moving. Coordinating actions and approving items quickly can keep construction jobs on time (maybe even ahead of time) and in some cases, under budget.

With the real-time accessibility, timely data and powerful functionality that modern, cloud-based, integrated construction software provides, contractors can automate tasks and streamline workflows that ensure the right people see the right information at the right time. If a change request is submitted for example, a project manger gets an alert on his dashboard, and from his mobile device can approve and create a change order. In the back office, the accounting team sees the change updated in real time, and in the executive suite, the CFO or owner looking at real-time job costs can see changes approved changes reflected in the figures as they occur. This seamless flow of information between the field, office and entire team is powered by an intuitive collaboration solution designed to connect these once-siloed operations.

4. Subcontractor Schedules and Compliance

If you’re a general contractor, you typically work with a number of subcontractors for each project. Effectively managing them, their timelines and schedules, compliance documentation, collaboration with other contractors and more is vital to a project’s success.

Clearly communicating expectations ahead of time, encouraging collaboration, looping them into any and all project updates and simplifying their own processes with technology and automation all help improve efficiency and production. If a subcontractor is spread too thin, or unaware of a larger project’s timeline, it can cause a delay in every subsequent job on the build. Or, if a contractor is out of compliance with their bonding, licensing or other contractual obligation, it increases project risks and makes the project vulnerable to legal challenges or conflicts. Open communication is essential in keeping projects running without a hitch.

5. Lack of Effective Communication

When the right hand isn’t talking to the left hand, projects can get delayed, and in some cases, done incorrectly. Whether it’s communication from an owner, client, in the field or at the office, everyone should be apprised as new updates like change orders or redesigns, or data like job progress or job costs become available.

Ensuring all teams are using the same set of data across the project reduces the chances for errors from a lack of knowledge. And, communication and collaboration audit trails come in handy if a conflict does arise, giving the general contractor confidence that teams have all the accurate information they need at all times to resolve issues before they become a project problem.

6. Poor Weather

One thing that can’t be controlled is the weather (it would be great if we could!). Understanding that extreme conditions can’t be controlled, allows you to be prepared, which can make a difference. If weather is hot and humid, or cold and snowy, account for a slower pace in the timeline, and follow safe practices for crews. When wet weather hits, providing a work team with waterproof gear and appropriate jobs can keep things moving.

Another weather-related item that can be controlled is how your business will be impacted in the event of a natural disaster. Should an event like a tornado, hurricane, flood, fire, or earthquake occur, how well would you be able to carry on operations? On-premise software and in-house data storage/servers could easily be lost in such an event — along with all of your vital data. However, operating in the cloud, with complete, secure data backups done automatically means that your business can continue to function — even if the home office isn’t able to.

Learn more about avoiding delays and keeping your projects running on time with Viewpoint’s suite of integrated, cloud-based construction software. To explore all Viewpoint has to offer, get in touch with us. We’ll show you how software can alleviate delays and keep your construction organization moving forward.